What's more fun for guys than reading comics? Making their own. Your Life in Comics lets boys ages 9–13 do just that. Inspired by the Free Spirit favorite 100 Things Guys Need to Know, this do-it-yourself comic book features cartooning exercises and prompts that get boys thinking about important subjects in their lives, including family, friends, school, health, and the future. Rather than provide the story, the book allows guys to decide what happens by creating words and drawings of their own. Some of the interactive exercises feature completed comic strip panels where boys imagine and write the dialog. Others let guys draw comic strips of their own. Freestyle activities let kids personalize the book and explore who they are. Web extensions point the way to additional fun, interactive resources online.
Comic books and graphic novels help educators and parents get reluctant readers interested in books. Your Life in Comics goes a step further and helps get guys thinking and writing about critical topics in their lives.
A former journalist and prize-winning newspaper editor, Bill Zimmerman has spent his career focused on empowering young people and helping families bond. As a senior editor for Newsday, he created a regular interactive feature to teach young people about current events that was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Bill is the creator of MakeBeliefsComix.com, an interactive Web site where users can create comic strips. Bill lives in New York City.
"Zimmerman knows kids and teachers. Not only did he provide us with awesome comic-based––but not comics-exclusive––writing prompts, but he took the time to connect many of the prompts with outside websites, giving the teacher a way to push the exercise further into the real world. Zimmerman's book is an inspiration to the tween-teen and school communities. The power of his prompts, the depth of the ideas, and the inspiration Your Life in Comics brings [make it] as highly recommended a writing prompt book as I've ever seen. I would not be without it."-Chris Wilson, editor of The Graphic Classroom
"There's the suggestion of reflection and introspection wrapped up in comics, so it doesn't look like a diary or a teacher's journal prompt. . . . The blue benday-dotted cover . . . also helps the subversive nature of the text, which seems to say, ‘Come on, guys! We know you have things to say! Why not write 'em down?!?'"-Dr. James Bucky Carter, EN/SANE World blog and assistant professor of English Education at University of Texas at El Paso
"Allows the reader (and now writer) the opportunity to develop his storytelling voice."-John Shableski, Graphic Novel Advocate, Diamond Book Distributors
"As hard as we are all working to keep all children-and young men in particular-interested in developing literacy skills, let's not overlook a potential resource. Your Life in Comics is Zimmerman's 19th book, and I certainly hope it's not his last."–Carla Beard, high school English teacher and author of WebEnglishTeacher.com
"Parents will love Your Life in Comics because it encourages
boys to think about their lives, get things down on paper, and be
creative. Boys will love this book because it's a lot of fun!"-Susan
Heim, On Parenting blog
"Great kick-start for reluctant writers, this make-your-own take on comic books will appeal to tweens-both boys and girls, and never mind the title. . . . With oh-so-right topics-such as music, texting, and school lockers-the book offers lots of cool links for online exploration, too."-ParentMap Online
"Loaded with interesting writing prompts presented in the realm of comics, it is a nice twist to traditional writing assignments. As Zimmerman notes, using comics in the classroom has the potential to engage even reluctant writers. Since the themes are social in nature, these comics could be used (plenty could be used for girls as well as boys) to spark discussions around issues of friendship, family, goals for life, and much more."-The Graphic Classroom
"Your Life in Comics is an incredibly timely book that integrates comics and learning in an exciting way."-John Hogan, GraphicNovelReporter.com